Iranian protesters blame health authorities for HIV outbreak

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Protests have broken out in Iran’s province of Charmahal-Bakhtiari on Saturday following an HIV outbreak, which protesters blamed on infected syringes used by health authorities.

Locals in Chenar Mahmoud village in Lordegan city said that a large number of the villagers have been infected with HIV due to the local health authorities’ negligence, according to media reports.

The local health authorities used infected syringes for multiple persons when taking diabetes tests, according to the protesters, reported the BBC Persian.

Protesters in the city of Lordegan, Charmahal-Bakhtiari province attacked and set fire to the office of the representative of the Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, videos of the protests on social media platforms show.

The protesters also attacked and set fire to the governor's building, the local health center, and a number of anti-riot police vehicles.

Videos of the protests on social media also show anti-riot police firing tear gas at protesters.

Dozens of protesters have been injured, according to unconfirmed reports.

The protests initially broke out on Tuesday.

Iran’s Health Minister Saeed Namaki has rejected the claims that infected syringes are the reason for the spread of HIV in the Chenar Mahmoud village.

Instead, Namaki has blamed drug addicts and sexual immorality in the village for the HIV outbreak in the village.

Parliament member Mohammad Hossein Ghorbgani had also denied the protesters’ claims.

“Out of this village’s 1,800 population, 240 are addicts, and 20 of them use syringes, and this has led to the spread of AIDS,” he said.

The protesters, however, say that around 200 people have been infected with HIV, according to the BBC Persian.

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